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Graham Awards


Beef Up Selective Licensing - think tank recommendations

A left-leaning think tank which says it champions ‘left-behind Londoners’ is demanding a turbo-charged version of selective licensing to be run by local councils.

The Centre for London claims to have “a unique London-first point of view” which “allows us to find fresh connections between issues and understand how they shape Londoners’ lives.”

In a report on the private rental sector it demands three radical changes to be made by the government.


"1. Reinstate local authorities’ ability to introduce selective licensing schemes independently, by revoking the provision of the 2015 General Approval that required confirmation from the Secretary of State for schemes covering 20 per cent or more of the borough. To complement this, the government should legislate an advisory role for combined authorities and the Greater London Assembly to promote the good design, harmonisation, and rationalisation of schemes, and to protect local authorities from vexatious judicial reviews. 

"Councils outside of combined authorities should be consulted on alternative ways of fulfilling this advisory function."


"2. Invest in the local authority housing enforcement workforce to address the shortage of qualified personnel. This should include increasing funding for apprenticeships and graduate traineeships, as well as exploring the potential for a Housing Skills Centre to train future enforcement staff."

"3. Allow local authorities to enforce problems with property conditions through selective licensing. This would require amending the Housing Act 2004 to allow hazards within the housing health and safety rating system (HHSRS), which are currently governed by Part 1 of the Housing Act, to be regulated through the selective licensing system. 

"This would remove the inefficiencies related to the 24-hour notice period required for HHSRS inspections, and could also enable councils to attach works conditions to selective licences related to Part 1 issues – so that their continuation can be made conditional on landlords making improvements to the property."

You can read the full report here.


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